LinkedIn is one of the best ways to do that and to be successful in finding a job. You can take days off of your job search when you use LinkedIn.
The first step is to join LinkedIn and set up your LinkedIn Profile. Your LinkedIn Profile is your presence on LinkedIn. You can’t do anything until your Profile is up. Your LinkedIn Profile is not the same as your resume. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to simply copy and paste their resumes into their Profile. And make them backwards-oriented like a resume.
Your Profile is a sales and marketing piece for you. And it’s like your personal Web site. Search engines find your LinkedIn Profile when it’s complete, and you’re not limited in space or format the way you are with your resume. It’s the first impression someone has of you, and they decide to connect or not based on what they see in your LinkedIn Profile.
LinkedIn members are helping people in their networks find jobs. For example, the Susan Todd of the NJ Star Ledger wrote on March 15, 2009 about Abby Kohut’s LinkedIn Success Story: “Abby Kohut got LinkedIn. And then she got work. After creating a detailed profile and shamelessly collecting recommendations, the 42-year-old staffing consultant landed contract work with a non-profit organization and a major publishing group.
“The two jobs found me as opposed to me finding them,” Kohut said. “And the people who found me, hired me after barely interviewing me.” When she joined the social networking site LinkedIn, she was looking for a job, but the contract work gives her more flexibility, more variety, more connections. And there’s another benefit: “I don’t have to worry about being downsized,” Kohut said.
Networking online isn’t new, but it’s getting a big boost from the growing numbers of unemployed searching for work with the help of new digital tools. Although more and more adults are joining the social networking site FaceBook, the more staid LinkedIn is still considered the serious site for professional networking. The two are different — think of it as going to a party and going to a work party.
At the end of last year, LinkedIn had 33 million members, and there were signs many were stepping up their activity. The amount of time individuals spent online increased 22 percent since the start of the year and the number of recommendations soared 65 percent, according to Kay Luo, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn.
A recommendation and referral like this definitely helps. Even with a referral, recommendation or LinkedIn Introduction, your LinkedIn Profile still must show that you’re qualified and the best person for the job.
Here’s what happens when a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for someone to fill a position:
They do a search on LinkedIn for qualified candidates based on their criteria, such as job titles, keywords, and geographic location. Then a list of people who meet those criteria comes up in the LinkedIn results list. They skim- and-scan the list of Profiles to find people they want to follow up with, and eliminate those that they don’t want to contact. They choose based on what they see in your Profile.
Imagine what they see. Pages of names, photos (or not) and what I call your professional headline. That’s the few words below your name at the top of your LinkedIn Profile.
How do they select the ones to follow up with? When they skim-and-scan the results list:
1) If there’s no photo, they skip right over the Profile and go somewhere else. Gone.
2) If your professional headline catches their attention and is compelling, they click on your name to see your entire Profile. They skim-and-scan your entire Profile. (They don’t read it.) If they like what they see in the Summary section, they move down to look at your credentials.
3) If they like what they see in your credentials, you go on their list of people to follow up with.
4) If your Profile doesn’t catch their attention and show how you’re the best candidate for the job, they skip over you. You’re out of the running and still in the job pool.
So your LinkedIn Profile has two critical jobs to do for you:
1. Come up in the search results list. Be found.
2. Show that you’re the best person for the job.
Show you have what they’re looking for, and how you stand out from other candidates who do similar things. That means that your LinkedIn Profile must have the best keywords built in. It shows who you are as a person and shows you as someone they want to work with.
And the Summary section must show your “DNA Expertise” – what you’re known for and that differentiates you from other people who are in the running for the same position. If your LinkedIn Profile does these two critical jobs well, you’ll take days off your job search.